Hollow victory;Leading Article;Opinion

30th July 1999 at 01:00
Once again, the Education Secretary David Blunkett has come out robustly in support of the school inspection service, OFSTED, and its controversial boss Chris Woodhead.

Yesterday, Mr Blunkett rejected calls to curb the independent voice of the chief inspector, arguing that it is his job - indeed his duty - to speak "plainly and openly about the strengths and weaknesses identified through inspection". On the face of it, this is game, set and match to the Chris Woodhead, and a defeat for the MPs who sought to rein him in (page 1). But there is plenty in the Government's response which indicates concerns regarding OFSTED. The Education Secretary has made clear he wants to see improvements in the quality of the inspection service, and he supports the MPs' call for Government auditors to investigate whether OFSTED is giving good value for money.

Ministers are right to veto the idea of a board of commissioners to bring Mr Woodhead to heel. The independence of the chief inspector is a crucial constitutional issue - and Chris Woodhead won't be there for ever. In spite of his recent performance-related bonus, there are signs that his influence may be on the wane.

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number


The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now